Life And Style, Travel

Life And Style, Travel

‘The path was alive with army ants!’ – readers’ holiday encounters with nature

‘The path was alive with army ants!’ – readers’ holiday encounters with nature

9/22/2021 1:07:00 PM

‘The path was alive with army ants!’ – readers’ holiday encounters with nature

A manta ray in the Maldives, wolf tracks in Portugal and mischievous seals in the Scilly Isles are just a few of your spectacular sightings

Last modified on Wed 22 Sep 2021 11.25 BST‘The penguins came close as I sat with my camera’John S Smith’s yellow-eared penguin sighting in New Zealand in 2012.Photograph: John S Smith/Guardian CommunityWhile touring New Zealand in a motorhome in 2012, my wife and I checked into a campsite at the tip of South Island. The woman at the campsite looked at her watch and said: “At 3.30, the penguins come ashore in the next bay. You’ve got 10 minutes.” Sure enough, the yellow-eared penguins soon started to emerge from the ocean and make their way to the back of the beach. Warning signs asked us to keep 10 metres away from the penguins, but they came much closer to me than that as I sat ready with my camera. It rates as my top wildlife highlight.

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John S Smith, retired baptist minister,Bridgnorth‘The seagrass sheltered small colonies of fish and coral’I was lucky enough to join a marine conservation expedition in 2019. I spent six weeks living on Atauro Island in Timor-Leste, regularly swimming and diving in the beautiful reefs and seagrass fields. I particularly enjoyed late afternoon swims at high tide as the light softened and shone through the water. The seagrass waved in the swell producing bubbles of oxygen and sheltering small colonies of fish and coral. You could always hear the coral before you could see it, with the distinct chattering of nibbling fish. On my own, as the sun set, I felt completely at peace.

Will Oakley, doctor, Bristol‘It was one of the most spectacular hikes of my life’The ‘troll’s tongue’ in Norway.Photograph: Daniela Carmen/Guardian CommunityEveryone knows that Norway boasts stunning nature, but not everyone knows how to deal with heights – including me. I will be forever thankful to my friend Diana who nudged me to join her on what turned out to be one of the most spectacular hikes of my life: Trolltunga. Some of our friends warned us that we might be at a loss for words because of the fabulous scenery and were so excited that we didn’t mind the 40 minutes of continuous stair-climbing, nor the unexpected June snow. With Diana’s help, I conquered my fear of heights and even managed to walk on the “troll’s tongue”, pictured above. By far the most memorable 25k of our Norwegian summer. headtopics.com

Daniela Carmen, university lecturer, London‘The trip – and the puffins – were wonderful’A puffin on Skomer island.Photograph: Gill richards/Guardian CommunityWe were on a family holiday to Pembrokeshire in May 2019 and wanted to visit Skomer to see the puffins. A limited number of tickets are released each day, to protect the island habitat, and having heard tales of long queues starting before first light, we set our alarms and bundled the kids into the car. Our early start and patient queueing were rewarded and, after a delicious breakfast at a local cafe, we were on the boat to Skomer. The trip – and the puffins – were just wonderful. We spent a whole day watching the comical little birds arriving back from sea-fishing with beaks full of eels, before scuttling down into their burrows. Such a great memory.

Gill, Hampshire‘The autumnal colours were stunning’The autumnal colours of Lapland earlier this month.Photograph: Kristiina A/Guardian CommunityI was hiking in Kilpisjärvi, Lapland, with my husband recently and the autumn colours were stunning. The ground was almost completely red. We Finns call this time of the year, when the leaves go from green to red and yellow, “ruska”. The temperature has to be below 0C overnight for the magic of “ruska” to occur. It is not the same every year; sometimes the hard wind means the leaves drop to the ground before the colours change.

Kristiina, MD, Helsinki, Finland‘We spent a great morning looking for wolves’Evidence of an Iberian wolf in northern Portugal in August.Photograph: Aiste/Guardian CommunityOur six-year-old son is obsessed with wolves; they’re his absolute favourite animal. During our holiday in northern Portugal last month, we got up at 4am and drove for three hours to a natural reserve to meet an amazing biologist who is tracking five wolf packs as part of a project aimed at increasing the population of Iberian wolves in the region. We were too late and it got too hot to see any wolves – but we spent a great morning looking for fresh wolf paw-prints and droppings. We’ll be back next summer.

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